Cardinal Kasper and German idealism

This is an interesting and informative philosophical look at the underpinnings of Cardinal Kasper’s theology by Prof. Thomas Heinrich Stark over at Catholic World Report, now a daily stop for me.

Since the middle of last century, we have encountered in certain currents within the theology of the Western industrialized countries, however, a decidedly optimistic attitude with respect to the world or—we can formulate it more accurately—with respect to the form that the world has assumed in modern times. One of the characteristics of this form of the world is modernity’s optimistic assessment of its own future prospects. Although in recent decades, a change in mentality with respect to history has taken place in secular culture, leading to a sharp decline in world-affirming optimism, nevertheless within the Church theological movements are again prominent which remain trapped in the optimistic paradigms of the middle of the last century.

The recent Synod of Bishops, which was concerned with Catholic teaching on marriage and the family, and therefore also with sexual morality, provides a striking example of this fact. One of the key opinion leaders in this Synod was Walter Cardinal Kasper, one of the most influential theologians of the second half of the last century. In order to understand and evaluate the positions taken by Kasper at the Synod and also in the run-up to the Synod, it is necessary to familiarize oneself with the basic themes of his theology and the principles and axioms on which his theology is based. This presentation will try to contribute to an understanding of Kasper’s principles from a philosophical point of view.


And, if you did not catch Raymond Arroyo’s excellent interview with Cardinal Kasper on The World Over on EWTN last week, do listen to it.  In it, Cardinal Kasper backtracks considerably from the position he had taken previously that Pope Francis supports his proposal.

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4 Responses to Cardinal Kasper and German idealism

  1. David Murphy says:

    I must express my considerable displeasure at the lack of respect with which Raymond Arroyo treats Cardinal Kasper. The Cardinal is at a distinct disadvantage because he is not speaking in his mother tongue, and Arroyo’s supercilious attitude is intended to paint him in as negative a light as possible rather than trying to understand what the Cardinal is really saying.

    At no time did the Cardinal suggest that the annulment process be abandoned and his suggestions do not imply a sanctioning of illicit relationships. He is not in favour of readmitting a man who has left his family in favour of a younger woman to the sacraments despite Arroyo’s impling this ad nauseam. On the contrary it would be the abandoned wife who might be treated more mercifully.

    I have not reached a final standpoint on these questions but I am very opposed to treating a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church in this way.

    David Murphy

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: I have not reached a final standpoint on these questions but I am very opposed to treating a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church in this way.

      You and I are in complete agreement on this.

      Unfortunately, such contempt is far too often a two way street. Liberals tend to show this sort of contempt for conservatives, and conservatives tend to show this sort of contempt for liberals.


      • Foolishness says:

        i didn’t see contempt in Raymond Arroyo’s interview. Maybe lack of deference perhaps, or being a persistent journalist in his interviews, but nothing I would consider out of line.

    • Antonia says:

      I’ve just watched the video and have to say I agree with David. Arroyo is putting words like “haste” and “fast track” into the Cardinal’s mouth: to be received into full Communion through a process of discernment and penitence is hardly fast-track! There are situations where the annulment process is neither possible, nor appropriate nor an authentic response to the case. And listen to the Cardinal’s insistence on the Church’s doctrine of indissoluble marriage! Not a fair interview at all; disappointing.

      Why are we Catholics,who have received so much mercy ourselves, so reluctant to have it shown to others?

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